Law360: 5 Things To Know About Deputy AG Pick Lisa Monaco

January 07, 2021

O’Melveny Data Security & Privacy Group co-chair Lisa Monaco has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as the US Department of Justice’s Deputy Attorney General. The publication noted that if confirmed by the Senate, she will be the second woman in history to hold the position.

The nomination drew praise from present and former colleagues, who called Monaco an inclusive manager who “lives and breathes” DOJ culture and is exactly the right person to restore the department to its long-standing norm of nonpartisanship in its prosecutorial decisions, Law360 reported.

O’Melveny Chairman Brad Butwin told Law360 that “[Monaco] has great humility, humor, and empathy, and I’ve seen how her inclusive management style helps everyone on her teams do their very best.” He also recognized her national security expertise, calling her “an old-school lawyer” in that she has both “great breadth and depth.”

Monaco began focusing on national security issues at the DOJ in 2009, becoming the first woman to lead the agency’s National Security Division in 2011. Obama then tapped Monaco in 2013 to be his Chief Counterterrorism Adviser, where she created the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center to enable government agencies and the private sector to share information to better combat cybercrime, and developed a long-term national security strategy known as the Cybersecurity National Action Plan.

“On counterterrorism issues, we had things that needed to both move quickly and absolutely need to be done right because adherence to the law could be at stake and lives could be at stake,” said Georgetown Law professor Joshua Geltzer, who worked under Monaco’s direct supervision as the National Security Council’s senior director for counterterrorism. “Lisa was tremendous for that combination because she can absorb things quickly, she can figure out both what’s important and what’s missing, and give guidance that you can then turn around and act on without sacrificing attention to detail or quality.”

Monaco joined O’Melveny in 2019, where she has been advising clients in the retail, pharmaceutical, financial services and other industries on highly sensitive data security, privacy, and criminal matters. Amid the pandemic she has led the firm’s Coronavirus Task Force, guiding clients through the intricacies of rapidly enacted laws with insights gained during her experience leading the US response to the Ebola crisis during the second Obama administration.

“Given what the country is going through, her national security expertise is an asset, but so is her empathy and compassion and her ability to work with a whole bunch of different constituents,” Butwin said. “She’s never been someone that’s been pigeonholed into this area or that area, and that's what I think will make her such a compelling deputy attorney general.”

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